Poignant and emotional, Ann Hu’s Confetti dispels myths about dyslexia in a heartfelt story about a mother’s love and determination to give her daughter the best chance.
It’s estimated that up to 15% of the global population suffers from dyslexia, a condition that makes it difficult to process sounds, letters and language concepts. Dyslexia does not indicate a lack of intelligence, it simply requires a bit more time, patience and perhaps alternative methods of learning. Ann Hu’s Confetti is an incredibly poignant film about the lengths a mother will go to ensure her dyslexic child has the best opportunity to learn like a ‘normal’ one, and in turn highlights the magic of brains which work just that little bit differently.
Lan (Zhu Zhu), a hardworking wife and mother, lives in a small town in China with her husband (Li Yanan) and daughter Meimei (Harmonie He). But when Meimei is diagnosed with dyslexia and they discover that the standardised school system in their area is not equipped for her needs, Lan decides they must go to America. With little money, prospects or knowledge of English, they move in with Helen (Amy Irving), a disabled author grieving the loss of her own son. Lan works a multitude of jobs as she, with Helen’s help, tries to enrol Meimei in an expensive and prestigious school for children with alternative abilities.
Confetti is an incredibly personal film for Hu, sharing a lot of similarities to her own experience of moving to America with her daughter, and you can feel every morsal of that personal connection in the emotional punch the film delivers. Confetti is not just a film about the relationship between a mother and child; it’s also a film about the loneliness and isolation of moving abroad, especially when that immigrant experience is amplified by an inability to understand and communicate fully, both in your own language and another. It’s incredibly moving and really strives to allow its audience the chance to understand why Lan is so driven to give Meimei better opportunities, and why ultimately she must come to terms with the fact that there’s no such thing as ‘normal’.
Zhu Zhu is terrific as Lan, conveying her determination and vulnerabilities in equal measure. It’s such a subtle and poignant performance. Zhu conveys how Lan’s own experiences have shaped the way in which she views Meimei’s education, but the film does not vilify her for reacting strongly when her preconceived ideas of ‘normal’ are not met. It’s a film that looks to understand the complexities involved in teaching someone with severe dyslexia, and emphasises the importance of identifying, adapting and integrating practices within the educational system to ensure each child is given a fair chance. Lan is learning to accept Meimei is different, as is she, and that that is perfectly okay.
Confetti is an emotional, uplifting film about the power of determination and the right methods of education. It’s a beautiful film that works to highlight how dyslexia doesn’t make someone less than ‘normal’, and how it doesn’t make them any less intelligent simply because their brains work differently. Hu has crafted something that’s as poignant as it is important, imbuing it with a lot of heart and a little bit of magic too.
Confetti will be released in UK cinemas on 21st October, 2022.